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4 Ways I Compose Posts to Drive Millions of Pageviews to Blogs Through Digg

A Guest Post by Neal Rodriguez.

With the release of the new Digg on August 25th, anybody with the ability to understand how a story, which is promoted to the popular section, is composed, has an edge in attaining viral exposure ranging from tens of thousands to millions of pageviews. Digg’s users constitute a large proportion of bloggers. Thus stories promoted to their popular section, which was previously their homepage and now the Top News page, can attain anywhere from less than 10 to hundreds of links pointing to their websites. Digg also has millions of users; many of whom visit websites that reach the popular section at a rapid rate. My blog went down when I promoted my interview with Ben Huh The Most Popular SFW & NSFW Failblog Pics of the Decade to the popular section and more than 1,000 visitors loaded the page in the first few minutes after reaching the front page.

NSFW/SFW pics

No matter how much of an efficient promotor of content you are, you will not get your blog’s pageview count passed the two people who made you nine months ago without writing content that people are willing to share among their online friends and acquaintances. There are just some stories that people are willing to pass on to their fellow digital networkers through email, Facebook Like action, retweet, pigeon carrier, or Greek messenger. What are some of the elements that increase the chance that a story will spread virally?

1. A Picture is Worth a Hundred Thousand Pageviews

I was surprised to hear that my friend had launched his photo blog and had grown his traffic level to 100,000 monthly pageviews in 3 months. Now together with Digg he is behind one of the biggest viral campaigns on the web in the past few weeks: the dry erase girl. Photos on the web appear to have the hypnotic ability of making people share them upon first encounter. Ben Huh reportedly did nothing but post photos of people failing at everyday tasks on his blog. Last time I spoke with him he was driving 1 billion pageviews to his blog network every 4 months.

On the blog post to which I alluded in the first paragraph, I aggregated the most popular photos posted on Ben’s blog in the last decade and performed some social outreach on the news aggregators. The post made the front page of Digg and drove 26,690 pageviews in the first few hours. It received 36,019 pageviews the following day. The post has received over 77,000 pageviews in total.

You should add photos to every blog post you write. The funnier the picture the better. Even the most serious topics work great with a offbeat picture that can also represent the post’s topic. Stunning pictures such as those posted on PDN Photo of the Day Aftermath (6 photographs) show the story of a woman’s breast cancer treatment in a series of self-portraits. I drove over 200,000 pageviews to this story on the first day of publication. It went popular on Stumbleupon and made the front page of Reddit, a social news aggregator, to drive over 90,000 views over the weekend when traffic is typically slowest. The only reason I didn’t put it on Digg is because nudity was not allowed at the time. I have found I have been able to drive the most traffic when I aim to tell a story through pictures.

Dry Erase Girl Quits

2. Opinionated Stories

My first blog post on the Huffington Post briefly outlined reasons why I thought we as consumers brought the U.S. financial crisis upon ourselves. In short, my argument contended that increases in foreclosures were the product of people buying homes that they could not afford. Whether you think I was wrong or not, this post made the front page of Digg in 2007 and incited a huge response. If any of you have attempted to promote content on Digg, you know that solely stories that receive the most response and support from the community get promoted to its popular page.

I got insulted on this post for my lack of substantiating my arguments with 3rd party facts. However, I did help people close no-paper A loans as a credit repair specialist back in ’03; so, considering the amount of people for which I secured $300,000 loans without showing income documentation, I had a pretty good idea from which to draw an opinion. No excuse, nonetheless, in your iteration, ensure that you back up your content with solid facts, statistics, and other expert opinions to make your argument as credible as possible.

My opinionated piece that called for the arrest of a Bart police officer who shot an unarmed man in 2009 also made the front page of Digg. My thoughts on why the Bart police officer who shot Oscar Grant should be held without bail was the most popular story on the Huffington Post on its day of publication with over 40,000 views through my outreach efforts.

Most Popular Huffington Post

What also made this post popular stand out, is that mainstream media wasn’t giving it the attention that the American people thought it should. Now touching on the subject of race, I received a hundreds of racist insults. Expect to get verbally abused when taking a strong stance on many subjects; especially touchy subjects that cover sensitive issues such as race. Just log out of Foursquare and Facebook Places before hitting the check-in button while you watch your 3-year old impersonate a Oreos commercial eating cookies in your house. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

3. Infographics

Infographics are visual representations of an outline of information. The graphic typically constitutes a skyscraper and rectangular image that is 500 pixels or wider. Inside the infographic, you can see factoids represented by smaller images. The smaller images can constitute pictures, graphs, and/or any other imagery associated with the information its representing.

Infographics can get tough to do if you don’t have a graphic designer. However, beyond the sparkling quality of the color and resolution of the images, the information conveyed in the infographic is what will determine its viral success. I put up a simple infographic on what other items could be bought with the money put into a Super Bowl ad and drove over 50,000 views to the Adfreak blog in a few hours.

Super Bowl Infographic

When creating a infographic keep in mind the following best practices:

  • Research your topic from at least 10 resources.
  • Try timelines and abstract ways to display diagrams, graphs, and charts; a popular way to graph data is by using rows or columns of images associated with the data – e.g. stick figures like those used to identify public mens and womens rooms when providing information on people.
  • Post key information that surprises or intensely interests people upon disclosing it; little-known historical facts and processes work well.
  • Use colors for the fonts, background, and images that relate to the topic being discussed. In this case we used colors in relation to football. We used the two team colors that were playing: the Colts and Saints.
  • The font size should poke readers’ eyes into their throats. Make them big, bold and colorful. Emphasize the words that are most important and experiment with different font sizes and styles.

Add several facts that constitute the ‘WOW factor;’ that your audience can relate to. So in the Super Bowl infographic, we related the factoids to popular memes on Digg since that was the initial channel of promotion. And again, although the graphic quality is important, put more focus on the information you will be embedding in the infographic. Visualize the image and draw a rough sketch outlining how you want it to look on paper or digitally.

4. Rewriting Headlines

The new Digg allows you to edit a headline before submitting it to the community. Your headline is the first thing a user sees when the story is posted on his feed. You should incite the need to click and read what loads upon clicking the title.

Top # Lists

When content is already listed or outlined but the title doesn’t read so, you may increase the chance of promoting a story to popularity using a numbered list title. A Forbes story once listed the most expensive private jets in the world. I rewrote the headline to “The 10 Most Expensive Private Jets on the Planet.” I successfully promoted the story and drove thousands of pageviews to it in a few hours. A good way to structure a list is by using the Cracked.com forumula

“The” + (Number) + “Most” + (Over the top adjective) + (Subject) + Of All Time (Synonyms like “in History” or “Ever” will also be accepted) = Popularity

Cracked Popularity Equation

Topics Important to the Digg Community

Some stories generally cover an event or developing topic. At times you will find a something that is dear to the heart of Digg users. I promoted a story for PBS that was covering a political convention, which had a tent catered for bloggers. Digg was mentioned once as a the sponsor. You probably know what I did better than me. I stated how Digg was sponsoring the event as the title. I successfully promoted the story to the front page and exposed it to its million-person user base.

Percentages

I also take the most important percentage that proves the key fact in the story and have made it as a headline. A story explained how betting pools were operating for the upcoming Super Bowl. The story’s key finding reported that 80% of bets were for the underdog, my NY Giants. I used this stat as the headline – “80% of Super Bowl Bets are on the Giants” – and successfully promoted the story to the front page.

How have you composed posts to drive the most traffic to your blogs?

Neal Rodriguez is a social media marketing operator ready to jog in blizzards this winter to get ripped for the summer in New York City.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for those tips. I’ve all but given up on Digg over the past year since it never did much to attract traffic for me. It seemed very “cliquee” the last time I actively tired to use digg.

    Looking forward to giving it a try again with these recent changes and will try to incorporate some of your tips.

  2. Josh Garcia says:

    Hey Neal,

    This is great information on how to be notice on Digg. That is amazing about your friend…100,000 monthly pageviews in 3 months!!!

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  3. Todd says:

    Nice article. Kind of a Digg 101. good!

  4. Mukund says:

    WoW!! A wonderful tip!! I never knew digg would make such a huge difference! I never gave it a try!! And I strongly accept with the first point!! A funny picture or a funny quote would always attract more visitors! I follow them regularly in my blog posts and ensure that it goes hand in hand with the content!! Anyway, I am off to their site!!

    Everything About Blogging | Free Premium Blogger Templates

  5. I agree with Susanne, I too gave up using Digg after finding it didn’t turn out well for me. But the idea about rewriting headlines (illustrated in an excellent way here!) makes me think if I should try Digg again. Will give it a sure try.

    Nice and well presented post. Thanks Neal.

  6. Hi Neal,
    I truthfully try to adjust my titles so that they get as much attention as possible, but it’s really not something you can do for every post – it can get old very quick to find numbers in every post.
    I do love the idea of doing an infographic, though – that’s a wonderfully creative way to represent information.

  7. Hey Neal,

    Awesome stuff ! and it’s great.. 100000 page views in 3 months.
    I tried digg but not got good results. I think headline and image plays most important role in social sites like digg, stumbleupon etc.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post dude. Really great post.

    ~Dev

  8. Digg I think is the place to get your site noticed and stay noticed!…

    I am looking to get my animation series noticed on there, (240,000 views so far) if you like the latest animation – “Candy The Magic Dinosaur 4″, it would be awesome if you could “Digg” it for me…

    Thanks Neal,

    David.

  9. Great post. Great theme. Great details, and great use of graphics.

    Feel like I was just given a graduate level course in advanced blog traffic in a single post.

    Thank you!

  10. Hey Neal,

    Thanks for providing these awesome tips. I am trying to get visitors for my blog and I hope this article will help me to achieve that. Thanks again.

    Sathish

  11. First off great post. Thanks for pointing out the formula by cracked.com

    Seems simple enough, but I often over look that.

    Can anyone tell me if you can just digg an image? and if it is something worth doing?

    Thanks, -Trev

  12. I agree with Susanne because of the fact that I too tried Digg sometime ago and gave up after not seeing any results. But may be with the rewriting headlines idea I should give it a try again!

    Thanks for giving useful thoughts Neal.

  13. @Susanne Myers thanks for reading, Susanne. Definitely try it out as they have lifted bans on all domains. They are trying to open the flood gates to websites covering all topics.

    @Josh Garcia @Dev – Technshare.com yeap! the site clocks like a million pageviews daily now. it’s all in the pictures; pics truly constitute the heart of the web and a must have part of the formula in any viral marketing strategy. Thanks for reading.

    @Kiesha @ We Blog Better you’d be surprised at the amount of information that gets spread through infographics; you could also ad an embed frame with HTML that allows other webmasters to post the infographics on their sites. Thanks for reading, Kiesha

  14. Matt says:

    hey Neal,

    I’ve been watching the shakeout on the new digg and wondered what your thoughts were on that. Has it affected your digg content promotion strategy significantly and changed the way you do things?

    Thanks for a great article. Been enjoying your stuff.

  15. Thank you, I’ve never think about that before.
    It’s a really good infornation. Acctually, I’m a new for being blogger. I hope some day I will be a good blogger like you.

  16. Rebecca says:

    Well, it’s a crying shame that after 6000 years of civilization, photos of breasts and gaudy images of sports paraphernalia still draw massive crowds… nothing is new under the sun. If being popular is the most important asset, and being popular entails sensationalism and licentious imaging, why don’t we all just write for National Enquirer?

  17. Super tips! Thanks a lot for a really useful blog post

  18. David Doolin says:

    The deeper I dig into this blogging stuff, the more intricate it becomes!

    I like reposting infographics on my Tumblr blog as well as my main blog, each infographic it’s own post, tagged, categorized, etc.

    At the heart of what you’re communicating here appears to storytelling. Infographics and other images have to tell or support an emotionally compelling story.

  19. I too, like some of the other commenters, have had trouble getting the Digg thing quite right. But you have given some really great sugestions about how to utilize it better. One thing I realized, was that I was using it kind of like a bookmark sight, where as it is really about tweeking or creating content just for Digg, kind of like a community blog, and the community votes on whats sticky.

  20. Gejinder says:

    Really great achievement. I hope I will also get atleast 100000 views in a year from digg. :) :)

  21. Googlers says:

    Thanks for the info. 100,000 Page Views in 3 months is superb.

  22. Simon says:

    Awesome post! I agree that a picture is worth a thousand words – much of my traffic on one of my blogs comes through Google image search.

    Now getting promoted through Digg and other social bookmarking sites is another ball game altogether.

    I keep on reading around the subject and hope one day to master it. I guess it’s one of those subjects which just “clicks” one day.

    Thanks.

  23. peter jones says:

    Keep up the great work problogger. I heard about you in so many countries, heard you are from australia originally and making millions. I want to make a blogging site for travel (using things I learnt from your site) , its growing 500% a month http://www.onlyrooms.com

  24. That’s a great post you got there, I particularly like inforgraphics as they just make it so much easier to easily understand things

  25. Sometimes, the most straightforward of ideas can be the ones easily overlooked. I love these methods for their sheer ballsy approach.

    I’m definitely going to work on these for my blogs.

    Many thanks indeed,
    Karl

  26. Mr. shadow says:

    Thanks for these tips, I really found them very helpful. Cheers

  27. Kat says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I have not used Digg for awhile. Maybe with the changes and with your suggestions I will have better luck.

    On a side note: Crack.com sure does know how to create a headline, I can never resist clicking on theirs!

  28. Neal,
    You wrote “Ben Huh reportedly did nothing but post photos of people failing at everyday tasks on his blog. Last time I spoke with him he was driving 1 billion pageviews to his blog network every 4 months. ” That is more than amazing. Indeed, it goes to show what people are interested in seeing on the internet.

    Thank you for the tip on the infographic. I had never considered this before as a way of sharing information.

    Continued success to you,
    David

  29. Mario Monk says:

    Soon we are going to see “1000 Most Awesome Titles in Digg History Ever”

    Digg will be flooded by titles following your advice :D

  30. Thanks for this article. I’d like to do more with Digg and will follow your advice in attempt to do so.

    Cheers,
    Louise

    Search Scientist

  31. Thanks Paul. Interesting if not somewhat humorous list.

    Let me break it down for ya all in a pop culture (?) sorta way…

    #1 is Lady Gaga

    #2 is Fox News

    #3 is kinda a riff / twist on Infomercials

    #4 is the rag tabloid in your city

    So I think the question one needs to ask before hitting the publish post button is, “Am I building a brand that aims to mimic 1, 2, 3and/or 4.”

    BTW, it should also be noted that sh*t draws flies, flowers draw bees, salt draws deer, worms draw fish, etc. Pages views might not always be the ultimate definition of success (if you’re putting out sh*t but getting fish.)

    In short these are all good idea but should be used intelligently and dare I say, tastefully.

    IMHO, of course.

  32. Neal, this was an awesome post!

    I signed up for your Ebook and am currently reading it. (It’s you have even have an ebook since most of your posts appear to be vlogs)

    I’ll say this this though: the ebook is for the old Digg maybe you should update it…so people like me can know how to get on the Front Page of the new Digg.

  33. I remember being incredibly excited when i first heard about Digg’s capacity to generate thousands of views. That was back in the days of power users- when a tight clique of 150 friends could dominate the market.
    When I found out that Digg has made that method impossible, I gave up. Has anyone tried the methods in this article? Have they worked?

  34. matt421 says:

    Thanks for such a great post.I have discontinued using digg now i better have another look at it.

  35. Rita says:

    I don’t agree with you at all that consumers caused the Great Recession. Five years before the collapse of the housing market, the financial institutions were engaged in predatory lending. They reduced the requirements for loans, such as having a job that would pay enough so you could make the payments. They were selling loans to anyone.

    It sounds like you write things just to get hits.

    I blog for consumers on two blogs. Consumers deserve good, factual information, not writers who just want hits.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  36. I gave up digg. It didn’t do me any good. But to be honest I didn’t try to promote content like you did. Your tips are very instructive. I will surely try to implement them
    THNK YOU FOR THE BRILLIANT POST!!!

  37. AnthonySouls says:

    Interesting article :) Images are very popular.

  38. Craig says:

    The only times I’ve had success w/Digg was through a strong social network. Maybe with the new Digg these tips can help push some of my articles over the top. Thanks!

  39. I have had quite a lot of success over the years with Digg also. I do quite a bit of article marketing and as you are most probably aware Digg doesn’t like EzineArticles. I have however had a great deal of success of using Digg with my Hubs over at Hubpages where part of my income comes in from. I was looking through the Stats the other day and Digg is one of my best sources of traffic apart from the main search engines. Great Info!!!

  40. Hey Neil,
    Your article sparked with me.I write about Perfect Health and many are insulted when I tell the truth. I always find that funny and at first was insulted, but, the reaction was stunning.
    I have always been looking to get my message across and you have given me ideas.
    Thanks for being a real upfront guy.
    Would love to communicate and share ideas with you.
    Pierre
    Thee Quest For Perfect Health

  41. Gerri says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I was just about to write a post about 5 ways to do something and reading the 4th point has brought about a major change in the headline. Many thanks for posting.

  42. Ngozi Nwoke says:

    Hi Neil,
    Great post. It was very detailed and will be of great help.
    Thanks

  43. wow cool!

    i alwasy looking information about how to drive huge amount of visitor throught social bookmark…

    i know that to be successful in social bookmarking we must unique.. not just unique, but also provide high quality content :)

  44. Azad Shaikh says:

    This is the best post on how to write blog post for digg I ever read. It is really really helpful to me. I will use this tactics in my next post at my blog.

    Thanks!

  45. Kunal says:

    Hi Nice post. But I rarely get traffic from Digg even when I add my each and every post to it.

  46. hydroplane says:

    Digg is dead

  47. Looks like Digg has improved greatly. I’ll take a look and see about trying it out. Thanks for the info!

  48. Tony says:

    Thanks for the great article! I also gave up on Digg a while ago…but I think it’s time to apply some of your great information and put together a strategy to get back in the Digg game!

  49. Glenn A says:

    Since you’re not supposed to promote your own content on Digg — and they seem to stop displaying your items in the stream if you do so — how is Digg an effective marketing tool for content? Has something changed or are we missing a basic technique.

  50. Pankaj Gupta says:

    This is another excellent tutorial to work with new digg. I will try what you have said with my tech blog. Thanks for this post.